See below for an interesting segment from the TV show “ER.” Many have used the excerpt to illustrate how postmodern pluralism and subjectivism fail to satisfy the guilty conscience.

Another useful point is that forgiveness comes hard– for humans and for God.

Forgiveness requires an offended party to say “OK”– to absorb the injury into his or her own being.

For humans, that ought to be easy. After all, whatever is being set aside is part of human nature anyway. Selfishness, laziness, malice, pride, etc. are all part of human “being.” Forgiving such therefore involves no “ontological dissonance”– no fundamental mismatch between the nature of the one offended and the nature of the one forgiving.

Even so, forgiveness still comes hard– hard because people are finite. Slights and insults may be easy to pass over, but major wounds and wrongs can diminish the lives of victims in “unforgivable” ways.

A similar thing is true of God. God also finds forgiveness both hard and easy– but for opposite reasons.

On the one hand, God finds forgiveness easy, not necessarily because He is infinite, but rather because it’s His nature. It’s in God’s “DNA” to forgive.

On the other hand though, God finds forgiveness hard because there really is an “ontological” mismatch between the nature of the one doing the offending and the nature of the One doing the forgiving.

Humans may find it easy to overlook theft because thievery comes natural to them– but not God. God cannot forgive theft (or any other sin) simply by absorbing instances of it into His being because sin is an outrage to His very nature.

So we have the makings of an existential crisis on a divine scale. God wants to forgive but absolutely cannot ever be “OK with that.”

The answer of course is the crucifixion of Jesus. In the cross, God does absorb sin into His being– but in a self-emptying way that upholds His holiness.

In the cross, humanity is made witness to the subjectivity of the divine Mind in Its working out of sin and forgiveness at the center of ultimate reality– God’s willingness to forgive on one hand combined with His outrage over sin on the other.


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